By Yunis Kariuki
Now in its third edition, the Speaker Discovery Series (SDS) is becoming AFP Toronto’s premiere event showcasing the most promising upcoming speakers in the fundraising profession. Speakers come prepared to tell their personal stories in 8-minute speeches with no slide deck or props, and what transpires are powerful, emotional and dynamic presentations connected to the fundraising profession.
Each Speaker Discovery Series is centered around a theme chosen by the SDS Committee. Dilemma was chosen for this past Speaker Discovery Series, held in May at the Gladstone Hotel, on Queen and Dufferin. The speakers shared the difficult choices they faced in navigating the complexities of their careers and how they dealt with their choices. The presentation topics ranged from the fear of not speaking up, to dealing with racism in the workplace, professional struggles and successes with Asperger’s, making the decision to walk away from a successful career opportunity, and finally, the challenges non-profits face when marketing vulnerable populations. What made each of the presentations so captivating was the speakers’ ability and skill in storytelling. The speakers’ stories contained conflict and struggle that kept the audience curious about what will happen next.
As a committee member, it has been exciting and rewarding to be part of this process, to watch with each event the breadth and talent of speakers that participate. The speakers brought diverse perspectives to the event, both from a professional and cultural background. In fact, none of the speakers had ever spoken in front of an AFP audience before; however, you would never have been able to tell.
I was also encouraged when I saw that SDS events have become a space where those who are not necessarily interested in public speaking come to support others, come to network and meet new people. For these individuals, it’s gathering with friends to share a drink, good food and engaging in conversation about what they have just experienced, that makes it an evening well spent.
Since SDS was launched in July 2017, we have enjoyed high attendance from our AFP community. It is the committee’s hope this excitement around SDS events will continue. I look forward to seeing the success of SDS being replicated and adapted across all AFP chapters in Canada and the US.
Speaking at the AFP SDS is a fantastic experience and if you haven’t been to one of our events, I encourage you to ‘get in the know’ and attend the next one – which will be held as a warm up to AFP Congress. You may be thinking, ‘hey, I have a great story to tell and I should submit my idea!’ Well, if that’s the case, I encourage you to get in touch with our committee and to be on the look out for our next call for speakers! Your story makes a difference, and can inspire others!
If you missed our last SDS, take a moment to listen to the podcast here.
About the Author
Yunis Kariuki, CFRE, MPNL
Yunis’s drive for meaningful work led her to the non-profit sector where she has been for the last 9 years. Yunis currently oversees all aspects of the major gifts fundraising at the Dorothy Ley Hospice. Yunis has held several fundraising positions within the social services, health care, international development and faith-based organizations. Yunis is also a strong believer in giving back to her community. In that regard, Yunis currently serves on the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter Board of Directors as well as serving on various AFP committees. Yunis also served as a Mentor for the AFP Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy. Yunis currently serves as a board member for the Alumni Association of Woodsworth College Board of Directors at the University of Toronto. Yunis is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), she holds an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Philanthropy and Non-Profit Leadership (MPNL) from Carleton University.